News: Wunder Capital receives $112M in equity and debt finance
See below for a re-print of a Wall Street Journal article on equity and debt financing raised by Wunder Capital. The original article can be found here.
A Ray of Sunshine for Solar Market
Lender Wunder Capital pulls in $112 million in equity and debt to finance small commercial projects
By Yuliya Chernova
April 18, 2018 7:30 am ET
Businesses have fewer financing options when it comes to solar installations than homeowners do. Startup lender Wunder Capital is working to address that issue.
The Boulder, Colo.-based company, which provides solar loans to businesses, has secured new funding to expand.
Cyrus Capital Partners led a Series B round of about $11 million in Wunder, with participation from Series A lead investor Techstars Ventures. Cyrus also provided about $100 million in debt to Wunder.
“We can grow faster with institutional capital,” said Bryan Birsic, chief executive of Wunder Capital.
Most lenders don’t provide loans smaller than $2 million to commercial solar projects, Mr. Birsic said. “No one else can make any money on those deals,” he said.
Wunder Capital has built software and data analysis tools that help it reduce the cost of evaluating commercial solar projects, so that it can finance loans as small as $200,000.
Last year Wunder originated between $75 million and $100 million in solar loans. It plans to increase that to about $225 million this year, Mr. Birsic said. It was the largest provider of financing in the U.S., to commercial customers in 2017, according to GTM Research.
The total amount of new solar installations in the U.S. declined by 30% in 2017, and is expected to be flat this year, according to Wood Mackenzie Ltd. and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
So far Wunder has largely relied on a crowdfunding platform where accredited individual investors supplied capital that it deployed into solar loans. The Cyrus facility adds significant capital and diversifies its funding sources, Mr. Birsic said.
“We’ve never had a write off and never had a loss. And we’ve made every projected investor payment,” Mr. Birsic said.
John Rapaport, partner at Cyrus and a former board member of Virgin America, is joining Wunder’s board of directors. John Witchel, co-founder of online lender Prosper, is joining the startup’s advisory board.
Wunder charges an origination fee of about 2.5% and a servicing fee of about 2% to borrowers. It also started charging a small fee to investors, Mr. Birsic said.
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